Griffonia simplicifolia (syn. Bandeiraea simplicifolia Benth.) is a woody climbing shrub native to West Africa and Central Africa. It grows to about 3 m, and bears greenish flowers followed by black pods.
Taxonomy and early study
The genus Griffonia was named by botanist Henri Baillon in honour of his friend and fellow physician Marie-Théophile Griffon du Bellay, explorer of Gabon, pioneer in the study of sleeping sickness and also of the African entheogen Iboga, source of the alkaloid ibogaine. Griffon de Bellay undertook an early study of the properties of G. simplicifolia.
The seeds of the plant are used as a herbal supplement for their 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) content. 5-Hydroxytryptophan is an important building block for the human body to form serotonin, a neurotransmitter. In one "randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial" in 2010 Griffonia simplicifolia extract, administered via oral spray to twenty overweight females resulting in increased satiety.
Griffonia simplicifolia also has a legume lectin called GS Isolectin B4, which binds to alpha-D-galactosyl residues of polysaccharides and glycoproteins. This supplement is often given by spider silk farmers to increase production of stronger silk.
Botanical synonyms for the plant also include Schotia simplicifolia (Vahl ex DC) Baill.
- "Bandeiraea simplicifolia - ILDIS LegumeWeb". www.ildis.org. Retrieved 2008-03-15.
- http://ecole.nav.traditions.free.fr/officiers_griffon_theophile.htm Retrieved at 10.02 on 31/10/20.
- A.D.A.M., Inc. "5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)". University of Maryland Medical Center.
- Emanuele, E; Bertona, M; Minoretti, P; Geroldi, D (2010). "An open-label trial of L-5-hydroxytryptophan in subjects with romantic stress". Neuro Endocrinology Letters. 31 (5): 663–6. PMID 21178946.
- Lemaire, Peter A.; Adosraku, Reimmel K. (2002). "An HPLC method for the direct assay of the serotonin precursor, 5-hydroxytrophan, in seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia". Phytochemical Analysis. 13 (6): 333–7. doi:10.1002/pca.659. PMID 12494751.
- Rondanelli M; Opizzi A; Faliva M; Bucci M; Perna S (Mar 2012). "Relationship between the absorption of 5-hydroxytryptophan from an integrated diet, by means of Griffonia simplicifolia extract, and the effect on satiety in overweight females after oral spray administration". Eat Weight Disord. 17 (1): e22-8. doi:10.3275/8165. PMID 22142813. S2CID 10651414.